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Many of us came of age watching the women of Sex in the City talking about sex candidly and having lots of it. This was the image of sexual freedom we were given to aspire to.
While shows like this certainly looked at sex in a positive way, many of us were left feeling like there was something wrong with our own sex lives for being so unlike what was being celebrated on our television screens.
Luckily, proponents of sex positivity have worked to broaden our ideas about sex to make room for all of us, no matter what city we live in or what kind of sex we are having.
Sex positivity is an approach to sex that views it as a positive aspect of our lives as long as it is healthy, non-harmful to others, and prioritizes personal agency.
What does it mean to be sex positive?
Sex positivity says, “hey sex is a part of being human and there is no shame in that, now let’s talk about it in a safe space”. Sex positivity is all about being non-judgmental, open-minded, and respectful of individual choice and desires.
Sexual health experts also emphasize the value of sex positivity in creating safer sex, both psychologically and in using the appropriate protection.
In sex positivity we are encouraged to embrace our differences and respect the diversity of sexual practices, sexualities, and gender identities without moral judgement.
Sex positivity is not about having a lot of sex, in fact not having any sex at all can be equally sex positive. It is all about having the autonomy to choose what is right for you.
While there are a lot of ways to be sex positive, there are some key elements generally agreed upon.
You cannot be sex positive if you do not, first and foremost, always make sure to have explicit consent with any sexual partner. Sex positivity is all about respect and individual choice, consent is the key to that equation.
Proponents of sex positivity want to break down any stigma and barriers attached to talking about sex so that we can all have healthy and fun sexual experiences. Talking about sex as a natural and important part of life helps us to do just that.
Claiming agency over your own body and sexual choices is one of the most empowering things you can do, and sex positivity is all about it. You make the decision about what you do and with who, and you respect the choices of others to do the same.
Being sex positive means accepting all sexualities, identities, and sexual practices as valid. Sometimes our sex drive is high, sometimes it is low, and sometimes we have difficult issues we are working through or sexual trauma in our past.
The more we can accept how complicated and diverse our sexual identities are, the freer we will be to enjoy ourselves.
How can I be more sex positive?
If you are interested in becoming more sex positive you have already taken a big step toward doing so! Having an open mind and wanting to be more positive in your attitude toward sex is the most important thing. Here are some helpful tips to continue your journey toward sex positivity:
Educate yourself about sex
Sex education is empowering and gives you the language you need to talk about your body and your pleasure. Do some internet research to learn all the things you have always wondered about but weren’t taught in sex ed, or tune into some ethical porn if you are more of a visual learner.
Explore your own pleasure
Being sex positive means that you care about positive sexual experiences! Exploring your own pleasure is an important part of your own sex life and also helps you to communicate what you like to your partner.
If you don’t already have one, pick up a great vibe (like this one) and set some time aside for solo play time.
Talk about sex with your friends
Okay, sex positivity is all about being comfortable talking about sex but it’s not like we can go around talking to just anyone about this stuff! Of course not, that’s what friends are for!
We promise that once you open up the conversation you will have so much to share, even if it is a little blush-inducing at first. Break down that barrier and create a sex positive space with people you trust.
Communicate with your sexual partner
What is sexier than talking about sex? Be flirtatious and build up sexual anticipation by asking what turns your partner on, sharing your fantasies, and describing your favorite position.
During and after sex you can keep the sexy talk going by suggesting things you like and letting them know what they did really well (if they couldn’t already tell by your sounds of joy).
For many of us it can be nerve-wracking to bring up these topics for the first time but before you know it, talking about what you like will become an exciting part of your sex life.
Try something new
A sex positive mindset can open up all kinds of new possibilities for pleasure. Embracing your sexuality more fully often means opening yourself up to new kinds of sexual play or finally dipping your toe into that fantasy to see if it feels as good as you imagined.
Trying something new with a partner, like using a vibrator during sex, is a safe way to open up the conversation and willingness to explore new forms of pleasure for both of you.
What are the benefits of sex positivity?
Sex positivity is full of positives!
Becoming more sex positive is empowering and will help you give and receive more authentic sexual pleasure. When we are able to break down our own barriers around talking about sex and free ourselves from shame we will have a positive impact on our sexual partners, friends, and even children by not perpetuating harmful stigmas.
We can make sex an enriching part of our lives rather than something to be hidden away.
Sex positivity is an important movement for promoting consent, individual choice, and welcoming all sexual identities as valid. In emphasizing personal agency sex positivity has been a force for good by saying to women, LGBTQ individuals, and people of color that they have equal power to demand healthy, consensual, and pleasurable sexual experiences.
By encouraging sexual education, open communication about sex, and prioritizing pleasure for everyone sex positivity is a force for positive change in the bedroom and beyond.